When people start a business, they usually give themselves a title such as: CEO, president, business owner or founder. As you read through this article, think about the business title you may have assigned to yourself. After all, it’s your company. It’s your name you put on the line every business day. But how to know when you have a business? Not just in name on a business card, on a website URL or on a sign outside the door… Rather really knowing when you have a solid, sustainable business is very important to your short term and long-term success.
Over the years of advising CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the United States across a wide range of industries, I have noticed there are different types of business people. Let’s further explore how to know when you really have a business with these examples.
There are people who have ownership of a business. That’s what it says on the necessary paperwork to start a business. These individuals show up every single day at the designated business address. They may own the business and even run the business – but that doesn’t mean they really have a business.
Because these business owners find themselves doing everything to keep the business going. They spend their days doing “stuff” at the business. They’re constantly doing various tasks, putting out “fires” that suddenly come up and they micro-manage anything and everyone. They have an attitude of “no one can do it better than me”. And it’s still not enough to really keep the business going at the pace or profit needed.
There’s no structure to the business. The business owner has limited himself/herself as to what can and can’t be done. With little room for additional business opportunity. They’ve limited profitability because the right people are not in place to help reach the marketplace or to build the business. The business then stagnates while competitors take away customers.
This type of business person may have ownership in the company and hold the title of CEO, president, founder or business owner but what they really have is just a job. They bought themselves a job. They show up every day to work and do a job. Their leadership role is minimalized. There is no time to think and to strategize about the future success of the company.
Now let’s look at another type of business person:
This CEO, president, founder or business owner started their business with essentially nothing but offered something of value the marketplace needed and wanted. This business person, as the business grew, wanted the business to grow even more. To do so, he/she understood the smartest person in the room was not necessarily them. Rather, he/she understood the importance of hiring people and surrounding themselves with people who understood sales, marketing, automation, manufacturing, accounting, technology or whatever needed to effectively operate the business. This business person realized they didn’t have to know everything. What they needed to know is how to hire the right people for the jobs created at the company. This is a key to current and future success – as well as profit.
When the person has ownership but acts like it’s a just a job shows up in the morning, often the first thing they think to themselves is something like this: Ugh! I’ve got such business problems to deal with! It’s always something! I can’t believe it and I’m overwhelmed. I have too much to do. I feel like I am working 24 hours a day! There’s going to be problems today, I just know it.
The other type of business person starts the day saying or thinking something like this: I may spend a great deal of time working each day but I look forward to going to work each day. I have a great team of people to help build the business. I have a sales department led by a sales manager. I have an operations person, a chief financial officer (or CPA, depending on the level of growth rate) who takes care of everything for me including taxes, payroll and billing. I have someone heading up production who makes it happen on time with high standards of excellence. My office staff is always there to help me and the customers. I don’t have to personally supervise everything going on in the company. I’ve developed people in every single department to be responsible for their work. What problems can I resolve today? What can I improve in the business today?
This scenario quoted above doesn’t mean that as a CEO, president, founder or business owner supervision or guidance isn’t necessary. It also doesn’t mean there aren’t problems, challenges or issues to deal with and address in a timely manner. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to train and inform employees on an ongoing basis. It’s all part of your role as being the leader of the company.
As a business person owning, managing and operating a company your role is to lead your people, be there for your customers and to every day take time to focus on the strategy for growth, success and ensuring the profitability of the organization. You do that by putting together a team of people to help the company survive, grow and prosper.
Remember: Business is about people. It’s about solving your customers problems, whatever they may be.
The business person who runs a business works daily at developing the strategy to help pull together and inspire a team of people the will help the company
- Be profitable
These are the steps to success. The last point is important: Be profitable. This factors into how to know you really have a business!
Sustained profitability is key to how to know you have a business. A real business. One where you can take calculated risks that turn into more profits. Hire additional personnel. Buy new equipment, computers and office furniture. Be at least two steps ahead of the competition rather than always watching over your shoulder at what’s happening in your industry.
Remember: You are in business to make a profit.
Without profit, you won’t have a business or a company for very long.
Do you really want to go work for someone else?
The person who has ownership and manages the company more as if it were a job will never attain the personal or professional success dreamed of when first starting the business. Every day the company will be highly dependent on them being there and making nearly every decision. It will be difficult to take a vacation, a long weekend or even a day off. It’s always a concern about how to meet the next payroll. Or the current payroll may be met but what about the payroll three months from now?
The CEO, president, founder or business owner with the profitable business certainly has had their struggles over the years to build and position the company for success.
As I often say:
It is the easiest of times to be in business; It is the hardest of times to stay in business.
But the rewards can be significant by having the will – drive – and determination to succeed and prosper.
After years of working hard in the business and making whatever changes necessary along the way, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment for what has been created. It is a joy to come to work each day.
The individual who has ownership but thinks and acts like it is job will be doing the same thing and getting the same results for the next 20-30 years – if the business exists for that length of time.
In summary, here’s how to know when you truly have a business:
- By surrounding yourself with a team of great people who seek excellence in everything they do and believe in the company product, service and mission
- You don’t need to make every decision
- The company is consistently profitable.
Remember: Leaders lead. No excuses.
To your success!
Business expert and strategist, Howard Lewinter, guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the United States across a wide range of industries, to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Business people trust Howard’s vast business knowledge, practical advice, intuitive insight and objective perspective to solve business problems and issues. Get MORE from your business! Talk business with Howard: 888-738-1855.
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